Don't Fear the Reaper

What would you do if you met death? What would you say? Would you be scared?
What would you do if you fell in love?

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2. First encounter

I was thirteen at the time. I had just started school, though believe me it was the last place I wanted to be. At that age all I could think about was how stuffy the classroom was and how I hated being confined in small spaces. I loved the outdoors because I could actually breathe. The classrooms at Black Valley Primary were small and compact and dusty; not a suitable environment for learning - not that I came to learn. I don't really know what I came for. My parents died and so I came here to live with my Grandparents - although they weren't far off themselves. I don't mean that in a bad way, it's just they're incredibly incapable of looking after themselves. They were very insistent that I do well in maths but I didn't see the point really. I wanted to be an actress and I didn't see how maths would help me there (unless I had to find the circumference of a spotlight).

I snuck out of my maths lesson one afternoon to go sit by the oak tree on the field. I go there sometimes to paint. I can't really paint very well, I have no concept or perception of shape and form but I paint what I see. My mum used to call it abstract. I liked that. Abstract.

When I got to the tree there was already somebody there, a boy. He was leaning against the tree with his hands in his pockets and his hood pulled over his head. I didn't know whether to turn back and face an hour of fractions and percentages or go to the tree anyway. I decided to go anyway; I was stubborn and I'd be damned if a boy would stop me from escaping maths. I walked casually over, pretending I hadn't seen him and sat down on the grass, taking out my paints and pad. It wasn't awkward because we were both minding our own business in silence with no care for what the other was doing there. I looked around the horizon. From this spot I could see the whole town below. My eyes scanned the rooftops when I noticed the church steeple poking through the trees. I dabbed my brush in the brown water colour and wiped in across the page. I tried to be as intricate as possible - or at least as intricate as a seven year old can - and was careful when adding the cobblestones and stained glass. The sun peeked through the clouds and shone off the windows, lighting them up and I took some white chalk out to draw the rays. I was about to paint the trees when I was interrupted by a shadow cast over me.

"That's really good."

I jumped and spilled water on my painting. I was a little upset but I was nearly at the point of ripping it up and starting again anyway.

I looked up at the boy who had retreated a little.

"I'm so sorry! I didn't mean to!"

"It's ok, don't worry about it." I tried to dab the page with my sleeve but I only made it worse.

"It was really good. Do you paint often?"

"Only when I have math." I said. A smile flickered across the boy's face. I couldn't see his eyes though; they were covered by his dark sunglasses.

"I'm Bianca by the way." I extended a hand but he backed away, hands still firmly locked in his pockets.

"Nicolas." He said quietly, "I haven't seen you here before. You're new I take it. You must be otherwise you wouldn't be talking to me."

"I've only been here a month. Why? What's wrong with you?" I didn't mean for it to come out snarky but it sort of did.

"I'm just not the sort of person you should be around."

"So you don't have any friends?"

"No but it's for the best."

"Well, I could be your friend."

"I really don't think so kid."

"I'm not a kid, I'm thirteen. How old are you?"

The boy smiled and looked down at the ground.

"I'm fifteen."

"So that's not that much older. You're a kid too."

"Yeah I guess I am." He turned to walk away and I, still sitting down, tugged at his trouser leg.

"So...friends?" He looked at me and even though I couldn't see his eyes, it was almost as if I could feel him staring into my soul.

"I'll see you round Bianca."

I shrugged and turned back to close the lid of my watercolour case. I took a sideways glance to see where he was walking off to but by the time I did, he was gone, like he'd vanished into thin air.

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